Saturday, March 29, 2008

Making a Blue or Gold Star Service Banner

After writing about Rod Raubeson, the former Marine who taught himself to sew in order to make Blue Star and Gold Star Service Banners, I decided to make one, myself.

I was able to locate directions and a pattern for both the center star and the border measurements from The Quilter's Cache at: Armed Services Flag with alternate directions available from Blue Star Banner If a quilt is desired, directions and a pattern are available from the Military Mom's website at: Blue Star Banner Quilt

It is very important to understand that only families with actively serving members of the Armed Forces are to hang up an armed services banner such as this one. Anyone can make one or buy one, but only families in active and armed military service are to actually hang one on display in a front window.

The concept of a service banner is both licensed and regulated. They are meant to honor and show respect for the families whose fathers, wives, sons and daughters are away and serving during times of armed conflict. Today, Blue Star Service Banners are displayed by families in all branches of the Armed Services, including the National Guard and the Reserves.

1.To Make a Blue or Gold Star Service Banner you need basic sewing supplies and fabrics of red ( for (4) 2 1/2" strips), white ( for a 9" x 14" center panel) and blue ( for a star that is about 7" x 7") I chose to make mine a quilted banner, so I also used a thin batting.

2. The 2 1/2" red borders are attached to both of the sides and then both the upper and lower edges. Trim evenly to size. By using a machined zigzag stitch or turning under and hand sewing, the star is then appliqued to the background (white) fabric and through the batting.

3. Right sides together, seam front and back together, leaving a small side opening for turning right sides out.

4. A narrow 'quilting rod' sleeve can either be hand or machine sewn on the backing. I show it here with a cord indicating its location. Fold it under to the back and slip stitch down for the final project.

5. I also added free-motion or meander quilting stitches throughout the center panel's surface to create a decorative effect and emphasis the quilted banner aspect.

6. To 'hang', insert a wooden dowel or curtain rod through the quilt sleeve unit in the back and hang with decorative cording, as desired.

As an alternative hanging method, you can use two narrow hanging loops and insert the rod through them. Make them with two pieces of 2 1/2" strips stitched down or seamed right sides together. Iron flat, and insert between sandwiched layers while stitching top seam in Step #2.

To Make a Gold Star Banner:
Substitute a gold star for the blue one. This signifies that this family has lost a family member in the armed services while on active duty.

Lest We Forget:
For those who cannot sew, but have family members in the military and wish to display a banner in their window, banners can be purchased at the American Legion website and and paper banners are also available for download at my previous post: Blue and Gold Star Service Banners (